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Winter Camping for Brooke's 29th Birthday - Part 1

All winter we had plans to go winter camping, but because its been so so cold we had to keep putting it off. Scott was supposed to work on my birthday and last minute didn't have to. We decided this would be the perfect time to go before the snow melts. 

I think we would've went earlier in the worst winter in recent memory, but a baby and sub-zero temperatures don't exactly mix.

With my birthday on Friday we left Wednesday afternoon and headed toward Duluth stopping at Fleet Farm on the way. 

Meadow really wanted to get a Carhartt jacket for next winter.

We also had to stop halfway to take care of Meadow's needs. 

I think she meant to say that she had to feed the little runt angel.

We arrived at Blake's house just before sunset.

Two of Blake's landlord's cars were buried in the snow. With the record number of below zero days there was a lot of snow on the ground.

Meadow LOVES Blake. She was grumpy all day until she saw him. Then it was all smiles and giggles.

I don't blame her. He's one of the coolest uncles I know.

While Meadow tore apart Blake's coffee table literature we discussed our evening plans.

We were hungry and headed to the Duluth Grill.

It's the best restaurant in Duluth, that's actually in Duluth. That might not make sense to you, but read on you will find out. 

I had some kind of medieval take on Gyros. The fat on the lamb leg was so well cooked that it was buttery.

Here's exhibit b of Duluth having a lot of snow this year. Still better at plowing than the Twin Cities.

Next we headed to Saver's in hopes of finding an electric kettle and camping gear.

Not exactly the treasure trove that we hoping for, but lots of plastic toys.

Meadow didn't seem to mind.

We didn't find what we were looking for, but I found a pair of rubber boots. With the amount of snow that's going to melt this year they are a must.

Meadow did not get this tie.

Then we headed to Dick's Sporting Goods to check out their camping equipment.

I didn't think we'd ever go to the mall in Duluth.

With no luck there I fed Meadow before we went to our next destination.

We picked up a few growlers from Fitger's for our camping adventure.

Back at Blake's I read more about my favorite mansion Glensheen. I just can't get enough of that place.

Blake and I drank some beer while Brooke read us facts he already knew. At least Meadow found it interesting.

Blake played Meadow some bedtime tunes.

It's so hard to co-sleep with Meadow these days. She moves around way too much then gets mad that you're in her way. I slept horribly while she seemed extra chipper in the morning.

You couldn't say the same for Brooke.

She played with a Che doll while we prepped for a journey to Bear Head Lake State Park.

Once Blake got home from work we packed up again and headed to Ely.

I made the suggestion that we pick up some baked goods for breakfast the next day.

Blake directed us to Johnson's Bakery just down the road from his place in west Duluth.

Muffins and landjaeger for brunch. Couldn't ask for more nutritious breakfast.

When we were almost to Bear Lake State Park Scott noticed an antique/thrift shop we had to stop at.

Folks, there's only one rule to a road trip: stop at every roadside attraction. Rick's Relics fit the bill.

There was so much to look at.

And a Peanut B. clone.

The upstairs was a little claustrophobic for Scott.

If Blake and Brooke are hitting their heads just imagine the guy who's 6' 2".

We found a crockpot/roaster for 10 bucks and a kitty-light switch cover for Meadow's room.

The roaster was exactly what we needed to cook in the camper cabin.

Blake always looks at the books.

We also got Meadow this lady bug maraca.

This place was a heck of a find.  Next time you're in Tower, Minnesota you'll have to stop by.

Then we arrived at White Birch cabin at Bear Head Lake State Park. I can't believe we never thought of getting a cabin in the winter before. 

We quickly unpacked our things.

Pretty cool roaster, right?

There are two choices of cabins you can get in the winter: with electricity or without. We decided on one with electricity since you are allowed to use crockpots and we figured that would be the best way to cook.

It's a good thing we did because the fire pit was buried under a lot of snow.

You could say that.

After I had made our reservation I discovered there were hike in cabins. We will definitely have to try that next year.

They were in way less cool parts of the state. I think Bear Head was the right choice.

I decided to make veggie-wild rice chili from things in Blake's pantry. On the way picked up some canned beans and tomatoes. 

We forgot the can opener, so we used my handy swiss army knife instead.

There was a guestbook sitting on the table so I shared stories of the past guests. It seems this state park is popular for fishing.


I also entertained everyone with some dancing skills.

Meadow gave her two crazy hands up.

"Stop fixing my glasses ma."

The great thing about the roaster is that you can saute in it, unlike a slow cooker.

The three of them were getting antsy while I cooked.

Once it was all ready we set the roaster to slow cook mode and went on our adventure.

While the soup cooked we went snowshoeing.

I was a little excited.

Meadow's hat kept falling off. Apparently it was my fault because I wasn't putting it on right. Or was it that Scott was walking through branches.

Since it happened today in the cities, I'd guess the former.

Even though there was probably 12 inches of ice on the lake puddles of water kept forming in the guys footsteps. Since I was last they didn't seem to notice.

Puddles? I don't think so.

I don't know when it started, but I have a huge fear of falling through a frozen lake. I just know I would panic if I fell in. Seeing the water didn't make me confident walking across the lake. 

We stayed near the shore from then on.

Except for the whole part where we crossed the lake.

The open lake was windy. I covered Meadow's head to keep the wind off her. I love that she is peeking through still.

She's a thrill seeker at heart. I can already tell.

As you can see, Blake and I were leaving pretty big tracks. My snowshoes are probably a little small for me. Occasionally I'd sink pretty far in.

When we got to the shore near our cabin I kept falling. Their was a small incline and the snow was measurably deeper. I'd put one foot in front of the other, but then trip over myself. Eventually I made it up the small hill. I'm pretty sure the snow went up to my waist.

Fitger's beer was the perfect respite from snowshoeing.

Since Scott was covered in snow we headed back to the cabin.

The soup wasn't quite done yet.

Brooke read more stories to us while Blake entertained Meadow by being himself.

I was happy to have a cold beer and a warm cabin.

Meadow was obsessed with licking the water bottle.

We stayed warm with our spicy bowls of chili. Meadow continued to lick the bottle.

I bought two cans of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies instead of plain canned tomatoes. I guess I should have went with only the Ro-Tels.

Blake didn't seem to mind.

Meadow had hardly napped. I tried to lay down with her to get her to sleep, but she just wanted to explore. 

Brooke's not only scared of thin ice, but also scared of wild animals. I had to take her to the bathroom.

I can't recall a single time in my life where I walked alone in the woods at night. 

We hung around the rest of the night.

We each wrote our own version of our day (including Meadow) in the guest book. Blake and I played cards.

You should stop by sometime and read them. Blake's version is priceless.

Meadow was finally tired enough to sleep.

Then Blake and I played scrabble before we all decided to head to bed.

Continue to Part 2


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